Friday, April 12, 2013


Two words: Tax season. I am still on the program and will update as soon as I can.

Thursday, April 4, 2013



Hello, and welcome to Thursday.

I did Shoppings today instead of yesterday, because, well, Things. I went to Save-A-Lot, which I'd mistakenly remembered as being spelled Sav-A-Lot and therefore have been pronouncing it Salve-A-Lot, because. I don't holler Bill when Bill isn't around, and I don't pronounce a Silent E that isn't there. But it is there, after all. Whoops.

In many ways, S-A-L was competitive with the Aldi, and had different (better? mmmaybe. More variety of some types of items-brown rice!-, but no pesto at all, which was disappointing.) things on the shelves, more of much, but the checkout wasn't as pleasant as Aldi. More prolonged, and grumpier. The bag-it-yourself area was smaller and had a Butt Brush zone. However, it did open at 8 rather than 9, so I went just after dropping Pugs and Wednesday at the light rail station.

I bought (I'm pretty sure) all the things on the List, many of the things on the Wish, plus a few things not even on Wish but that had been nibbling at the back of my mind for awhile (lunchbox snacks, mostly). I managed to hold to just one true Impulse Buy. Today's Sum Total: $51.60.

If only I can be more disciplined this week and not purchase 'extras', I will be pleased. I mentioned that I might be hustled into a Cupcake Happy Hour, but I might could shove that off to next week.

I did say right at the beginning that keeping to this strict a budget was difficult if there were holidays or birthdays, and Easter candy... well. But it serves me right that I have a cold sore at the end of my tongue and a Zit Of Misery inside my left nostril. Sugar does dreadful things to me.

Once I've done Pretend Shopping (tomorrow seems likely) I'll post my price comparisons. I might go back to Target, just to see if last week was a fluke.

Question: Lovely Gourmet Sister said that my comparison figures are hard to look at because they don't line up nicely, and that I ought to put them on a spreadsheet. I have a hazy memory of spreadsheets from BC (Before Children), so that information, if I can even retrieve it, is WAY old and possibly useless. Also, I don't know how to plug a spreadsheet into Blogger. She said my articles are too long and wordy, and that I need to break up my entries into just one thing or another: JUST Meal Plan, JUST Recipes, JUST Premise, and so on. She said I ought to use links in the body of the blog. (Yes, fine. It does take longer, though.)  She said exactly nothing about the actual content, so I am guessing she looked at it, but didn't read it. Oh, hey. The question part of the question: do you agree? Would you enjoy this adventure better were it to be more topically segregated, more aggressively edited, less wordy? Is there some other factor that would enhance the experience for you?

If you agree with Lovely Gourmet Sister, I assume you haven't read this far, and leave it to you dogged, intrepid, hip-booted individuals to offer critique, suggestions, or even (gasp) praise.

Not that I'm fishing. Dude, that's like, work or something. Hook, bait, wait, wrestle, scale, gut, cook... I'd rather run after a rabbit.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Premise #6:What You DON'T Buy


There's a lot to be said about what we leave on the shelves. For example, $2 buys a lot of oatmeal and a fair amount of frozen veggies, but only one box of Saturday cereal. Since we're coming out of winter, I'm hoping to convince the Giant Obnoxious Ones that Saturday Cereal stays on the shelf. I bow to the power of Comfort Foods (witness my sugar spree this week) and am myself powerless in the face of hormonal sugar/salt rampages and actually eat Pork Rinds much more frequently than I care to admit. HOWEVER.

Leaving chips, cookies, danish, tinned pasta, seasonal treats and so forth on the shelf at the supermarket is a Really Good Idea, because dayum, that crap's ezPENsive, yo. I bought sugar last week, in order to make an Easter treat for Gomez's family. His Aunt Jean used to make no-bake cookies that are sugar, chocolate and quick oats, and his sisters LOVE them. They require two cups of sugar per batch. But usually, I don't buy sugar. I don't usually buy lunchmeat. Bacon is a special purchase, as are bread (that's right, I don't have bread in the house as a 'staple'), ice cream, bagels and fruit. Yes, I like fruit, and it's nice for the kids to have fruit in their lunch coolers. But I've had fruit go bad. I'd rather have the family say to me, Hey, could we have some fruit? than say to myself, Aha- so that's why those wee flies have invaded the kitchen. Doing without for a day or two doesn't kill anyone, and a week is shorter than it used to  be. Okay, maybe it just SEEMS shorter than it used to be.

I don't buy paper towels or paper napkins unless there's a special reason for them. I use dishcloths, cloth napkins and washrags for just about everything that Most People need paper towels. We have garbage day and recycle day once a week each in my neighborhood, and I hate HATE purchasing something that is DESIGNED to be thrown away in the trash (don't get me started on garbage bags), so I do it as little as possible. No, they don't count as groceries, and wouldn't even if I were buying them, but consider what you might save by not buying paper towels, or at least not buying them as often.

I don't always buy milk. I like to have half & half for my coffee, but if I don't, I don't. One carton generally gets me through two weeks, or almost. I've had the "other half" of a gallon of milk go bad often enough that I'll check with the kids to see if they want milk this week. For cooking, I keep a can of evaporated milk on the shelf- nobody notices the replacement when I make mac & cheese. Cheddar cheese is kind of a staple, but I don't always buy Swiss or other sorts. I don't buy eggs every week- since I buy 3 dozen at a time, I shouldn't need to- and I don't buy muffin mixes anymore, since the bug incident.

I also don't buy bottled drinks. When I do, I buy glass bottles so that I can reuse them, sometimes mixing my own iced coffee, lemonade or fruit-tea drinks. I don't buy fruit juice unless Wednesday pleads for apple juice, but since the apple juice I bought last week went off before it was gone, it will probably be awhile before I buy it again.

Packaged snacks (oops, typed 'snakes' first; packaged snakes? hmm.) are an on-again, off-again basis. I do like to keep granola bars and boxes of raisins around, but pretzels, chips, and things that come in 'one serving' packages tend to remain on the shelves. It irks me to purchase an over-abundance of packaging, so I'd rather buy a large bag of pretzels and put them in little reusable containers for lunches. We make popcorn in our stovetop Whirly-Pop when we want munchies with a movie. Super-cheap, and no weird chemical pretend butter stuff.

I try to not buy cookies. Cinnamon graham crackers are wonderful and substitute nicely, and at $1.80 or so a box beat the heck out of the $3.69 Oreo cookies, pricewise. I do buy brownie mix and use it to make cookies sometimes. Also shortbread, but I did that so often this winter that I won't do it anymore until the guest pounds that have accumulated on my sit-upon have vacated my trousers.

Meal Plan

Wednesday: Salmon Cakes & green beans
Thursday: Hot Dogs w/The Works
Friday: Red Beans & Rice or Yams, Corn & Black Beans
Saturday: Burgers
Sunday: Lasagne Crisp
Monday: CORN
Tuesday: Cheesy Beef Casserole or Beans & Rice

Happy Hour Cupcakes $6

Hot dog buns $2
Hamburger buns $2
Burgers or burger meat $9
tomatoes, lettuce, catsup $6
saurkraut (shaddap, SpellCheck) $3
croissant rolls in a tube $3
Ricotta cheese $4
Mozzerella cheese (again, shaddap) $3
cheddar cheese $6
sausage roll $5

wish list:
raisin bread
Swiss cheese
maple syrup
granola bars

This 'wish list' idea of mine is so that if I have some wiggle room in my grocery budget, I can purchase some of the 'want' items without them technically being impulse buys. But if I don't have room in the budget, I'll leave things on the shelf.



Saturday, I gave Pugsley $10 for food with his friends after his Lion Dance practice. He used all but $1.14 of it. At the fabulous Asian market, where Pugsley spent $55.00, $45 of it for a school culture project, I spent ~$3 on coffee-flavoured candies that I haven't found anywhere for forever, and which I still LOVE.

And then on Monday, we spent ~$21 on soda and Easter candy. It's embarrassing to admit, but it was my idea. Also, the kids did not like the Mary Sue Easter Egg, dark chocolate filled with white buttercream. I only love them once every five years or so, but this was one. It's a locally made treat, and I remember the cheesy TV jingle from my childhood. The jellybeans were a disappointment. I've grown to love the black jellybeans, and there were hardly any at all.

So $47.50 for actual food, $24 on sweets we didn't need and $9 on "outing" snacks. That's $80.50. I am NOT doing very well at this. I mean, obviously it CAN be done, but I evidently lack the self-discipline to do it properly.

I just narrowly avoided spending even more at Cupcake Happy Hour (what evilness IS this??), but I will probably get muscled into it sometime this week.  Sigh.